Effects of Laser Therapy vs. Ultrasound in the Treatment of Subacromial Impingement

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This weeks article compares high intensity laser therapy to ultrasound to determine which is more efficient in reducing pain in patients with subacromial impingement.  In this study, 70 patients with subacromial impingement are treated with either laser or ultrasound over a 2 week period.  Read here to determine which modality was found to be more effective at reducing pain in these patients.



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  1. Jacob says:

    I didn’t like this article as well as some of the others that have been posted. I really like the concept but did not think the study was done very well. I would like to know about the effectiveness of each of these modalities for SAI, but in order to tell that, there needs to be a true control group in the study.
    I have limited experience with laser because I don’t have access to it at my work. I do have access to ultrasound and have rendered it useless (sorry to be harsh but it feeds into my next point). I was interested in learning about the effectiveness of laser, rather than just comparing it so something that I think is already useless.
    All in all, good idea but poor study design in my opinion.

    • Robert says:

      The use of ultrasound as a control is almost like using it as a placebo/sham… we know it doesn’t work, so comparing laser therapy against it has merits. One step further would have been to just not even turn it on.

  2. Emily C says:

    I agree with the above about the control. It would have been nice to see the study talk determine how each modality stacks up to a proven control group. I do however think there is value in the study overall. I also don’t have access to laser but want to learn more about it and it’s overall effectiveness. Are there any other studies you can reference me to??

  3. colinwaldock says:

    Sorry to sound like a grump but I am not convinced by either laser or ultrasound. I was impressed by the honesty in the study that limitations included small sample size and importantly short term follow up. All we know is an effect was noticed for after an intensity of treatment within a two week period which was unlikely to be offered within normal clinics. At the clinic I work in we see patients once a week or once every two weeks due to lack of diary availability. U/S is a good placebo option as it is well regarded as just that, but laser comes with it’s own placebo issues, the very name “High Intensity Laser” is enough to create a placebo response. 3 arms then perhaps required, active laser, sham laser, and active monitoring (exercise??)

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